‘For four decades, the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its predecessor (the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases, ILRAD) have conducted research on the lethal tick-borne cattle disease known as East Coast fever. ILRI’s work has focused on developing a new-generation ‘subunit’ vaccine, comprising molecular components of the causative parasite, while also developing molecular tools to enhance the quality of an infection-and-treatment (ITM) immunization method, consisting of whole live parasites.
The ITM vaccine was developed first by the former East African Veterinary Research Organisation, at Muguga, Kenya, between 1967 and 1977, now known as the Veterinary Research Centre, which is part of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and which has continued to refine the vaccine.
ILRI produced the first commercial batch of the ITM vaccine in the late 1990s, at the request of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. A decade later, on request from regional stakeholders, ILRI produced a second batch, which is now being used in East Africa. ILRI and KARI also supported Kenya’s Director of Veterinary Services (DVS) in his department’s successful trials that have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the ITM vaccine, thus making way for the launch of its national distribution today’.
‘In order to realize full benefits from the use of the ECF vaccine, the Ministry of Livestock Development will undertake to ensure its sustainable production, pricing distribution and delivery to livestock keepers in all areas scheduled for vaccination and to those who need it most, the rural livestock keepers in Kenya.’ Philomena Koech, Ministry of Livestock Permanent Secretary, Daily Nation (Kenya) press release
The vaccine approved country distributors are:
- Bora Biotech Ltd
- Biomedicum Ltd
- Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation
- SIDAI Africa
- TEGEA Ltd
Phil Toye and Henry Kiara, ILRI scientists, involved in this research for many years attended the launch that was held in Katuka farm in Kitale on 7th Dec.
Read the full ILRI’s news release article: New vaccine launched today to protect Kenyan cattle against East Coast fever
Other related news: Reprieve to pastoralists as new vaccine for animal fever unveiled